Skip to main content

Special Educational Needs and Disability Order

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order in Northern Ireland since it was introduced. (96132)

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 came into effect on 1 September 2005. Allowing for the academic year, it is too early to conduct any meaningful evaluation.

The Department of Education is undertaking the annual school census. This census, when completed, will identify the number of children in schools in Northern Ireland with statements of special educational need and facilitate the assessment of the impact of the order on the number of children with special educational needs statements attending mainstream schools. Fort the first time, the census will collect information on the number of children with a disability in mainstream schools.

In addition, the Department of Education has asked the Education and Training Inspectorate to conduct a review of schools’ accessibility plans for children who have a disability. This review will be completed by the end of the current academic year and will provide key information on schools compliance with the legislation.

The education sector has responded positively to the introduction of SENDO by initiating comprehensive training for all staff on the application of the order.